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Author Topic: Bears and bees  (Read 3116 times)
Understudy
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« on: January 14, 2006, 11:46:56 AM »

Okay, here is a question for those of you who live up north near the woods. I was just watching an old episode of Wild America. It was talking about bears. It passing it mentioned that beekeepers will put protection against bears such as electric and barb wire fences to prevent bears from getting into the hives.

So my question is , do any of you up there really have a problem with bears?

I realize that many of you may not live near the woods but for those who do I am curious if this has ever really been an issue for you.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2006, 01:46:10 PM »

Quote from: Understudy
So my question is , do any of you up there really have a problem with bears?


Sure do.   I have to keep all my hives protected with electric fence.  My dad has a few hives on the roof of his garage.  This  worked well for quite a few years until one evening he went outside and there was a bear on the roof shocked

Now he has electric fence around the corner posts to keep the bears from climbing on the roof. You can see some of the insulators in the photo.

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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2006, 03:12:45 PM »

Quote from: Robo
This  worked well for quite a few years until one evening he went outside and there was a bear on the roof shocked



My wife supposed that you dad forgot  the ladder on. Shocked
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Understudy
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2006, 03:33:00 PM »

OMG!
That is pretty wild.
There use to bears in the swamplands of Florida but there has been so much development and hunting. I don't think they exist south of Orlando area.

So the bears can really be an issue. I could see them running entire crops. And then damaging the house. Especially if the bear fell through the roof. I understand a full grown bear is pretty big and heavy.

Lets see I have a bee veil gloves and a smoker. He stands over 7 feet tall, has sharp pointy claws and teeth. And if his paw even slightly brushes me, he will knock into the middle of next week.

No problem Mr. Bear think of this as an all you can eat buffet.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2006, 03:34:14 PM »

heres a bear fence video, alot of guys in the georgia mountains use these fences.

http://nols.edu/resources/research/movies/bearfence_xl.shtml/
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2006, 03:48:58 PM »

Quote from: Understudy

Lets see I have a bee veil gloves and a smoker. He stands over 7 feet tall, has sharp pointy claws and teeth. And if his paw even slightly brushes me, he will knock into the middle of next week.


Actually the black bear is not a threat to man at all, unless you get between it and its cub.  For the most part,  they run off when they see you.   I have had them come wandering down the driveway following their nose to the sweet smell of honey when I'm extracting.   Soon as I open the honey house door, they turn and run wink

Actually,  2 years ago was the first recorded death by a black bear in New York.   The bear actually swiped an infant out  of a stoller in someones backyard when they went iin the house  for something.   The bear did not try to eat the baby,  it was the rough handling that killed it.  They theorized that it smelled the milk on the baby.

They are quite a magnificant and beautiful animal.
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Understudy
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2006, 04:06:11 PM »

I understood from the documentary that they tend to run when they see humans, unles there is a cub or humans have been doing something stupid like feeding them.

I figure what will happen to me is a 55 gallon drum of honey will spill all over me and I will go back to the house to shower and this big ass bear will see me covered in honey and look at me like I was a honey barbequed chicken wing.

I am thinking a cattleprod should be standard equipment for bee keepers in wooded areas.

Maybe I could use the cattleprod to motivate my wife.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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livetrappingbymatt
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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2006, 06:52:59 PM »

it's the larva that they need,the honey is the candy coating.
1 bear will distroy 3 aveage hive per visit.
how many can you afford to feed the bears?
bob
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BEECANUCK
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2006, 08:17:35 AM »

I agree with Livetrapping. I was hit last spring and lost 4 of 10 hives. The bear went through 3 strands of electric fence , added another 2 strands and hung empty sardine cans from the wires. The idea being that the bear will lick the can get a jolt and leave the hives alone (worked!!!)
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Robo
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2006, 10:40:17 AM »

Good point - Electric fence by itself is not the answer.  You must 'train' the bears to the electric fence.  With their thick coats, they can plow right thru them and not feel a thing.  You must get them to touch the wire with a sensitive area like their nose or tongue.  

My method includes taking a piece of 1/4 harware cloth and bending it into a 'V'.  I then smear peanut butter all over the hardware cloth and hang it upside down over the wire (^).  This has worked quite well for me,  and they tend to knock the hardware cloth V off when they get shocked,  so I get an indication when they have been around.

You can also hang bacon on the wire or a variety of other baits, but I like the peanut butter because it doesn't go rancid/start to smell or get washed away with rain.
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BEECANUCK
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2006, 10:58:48 AM »

Much the same idea as the sardine can. ( sorry for the typo it was to be lick not like) - fixed it for u- robo Cheesy
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Archie
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2006, 07:24:11 PM »

a few years ago, i had a lot of problems with bears.   i have a dog but he was in the house most of the time.  when he was out the bears would stay away.to solve my bear problem, i bought a electric fence that was also a net.  it stands about 30 inches high.  i haven't had a problem since.  nothing is more upsetting than having your hives totaly destroyed by bears.  it makes a grown man cry.........
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Chris
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2006, 09:20:43 PM »

We had (past tense) 2 hives in Vanderbilt, Michigan, (northern part of the state)  and last fall bears plowed through our electric fence and destroyed our hives.    cry    Our hives were on the edge of our clover plot, and the bears must have rolled around in the clover after they gorged themselves, since there were several huge circles of matted down clover.

We are going to rebuild/strengthen the electric fence with more wire strands this weekend.  We are also going to try the behavioral training w/bacon on the wires or peanut butter as one other post recommended.  Next month we plan to get two nucs and try again.

Last weekend, we discovered a bear had torn down my birdfeeder.  We only camp on the property on weekends, and had not had a feeder up all winter--had just put it up the day before.  So, no more bird feeding, either...  We don't want to encourage more bad bear behavior...
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BEE C
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2006, 04:19:09 AM »

I'm hoping to build an electric fence soon.  I built a hive hut from 880 lbs of concrete base with boulders mixed in, 4" thick posts and layers of crisscrossed two by four siding over this is a thick wire mesh "trellis" the openings are welded metal grates, bolted onto/through the posts.  This should be good for the two tasty hives until the fence goes up.  Last spring I had empty hives sitting in the yard and watched a yound black bear mosy on through sniffing at them completely oblivious to me about forty feet away...the dog keeps his yap shut when the bears are around...I also don't have birds feeders anymore because the bears smashed into them and cleaned them out.  my neighbours keep goats and had one eaten about the same time last year.
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Robo
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2006, 08:24:13 AM »

Quote from: Chris

Last weekend, we discovered a bear had torn down my birdfeeder.  We only camp on the property on weekends, and had not had a feeder up all winter--had just put it up the day before.  So, no more bird feeding, either...  We don't want to encourage more bad bear behavior...


Yup,  our bird feeders are behind electric fence too.  Between the bear and deer,  there ain't much in our yard that isn't surrounded by electric fence.
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BEE C
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2006, 12:21:05 AM »

Brendhan,                                                                                                I had my first encounter with our bears this season.  Unfortunately closer than I wanted...ten feet.  I was coming out of the hive house and there he was.  I hope I don't have bear damage photos soon... huh he turned and ran as soon as I came out of the hut.  Nonetheless, he was large and brown.  Needless to say I didn't notice if he had a hump on his back I was busy shaking the lumps out of my beesuit.  Heres a pic of how close my hives are to the forest.
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Kris^
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2006, 07:40:12 AM »

My first experience with bees was as a "hive protector" in 1994.  My friends had a couple hives at their hunting cabin located at the border of the state game lands in northwest PA, and they had problems with a bear snooping around.  As I was without a residence at the time, they let me stay there.  My job, while I was there, was to keep an ear out for the bear during the night.  If I heard it, I was to stick the shotgun out the back door and fire it into the air.    I never had to do it; perhaps the presence of someone in the cabin kept him away.  When I moved on they put up an electric fence around the hives.  They later sucumbed to wax moths.

-- Kris
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